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What can I ask the Juvenile Court for help with?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Created February, 2021

You can ask the Juvenile Court to help with a child between 6 and 18 years old who is:

  • A "stubborn child," who seems unable to follow the rules at home.
  • A "runaway child," who keeps running away from home.
  • A "truant child," who keeps cutting school.
  • A child who seems unable to follow the rules at school.
  • A child who has been exploited sexually.

Children who are “stubborn” or “runaways”

A parent, legal guardian, or anyone who has legal custody can file a Children Requiring Assistance (CRA) application to ask for help with a child who:

  • repeatedly runs away from home, or
  • repeatedly fails to obey their parent or guardian or custodian so that it is impossible to protect and care for them.

If you just cannot keep your child safe because of their behavior, you might file a CRA application.

Children who are habitual truants or school offenders

Your child’s school can file a CRA application to ask the court for help with a school-age child who:

  • is habitually truant. A student who does not have a proper excuse and skips school for more than 8 days in a quarter is "habitually truant."
  • repeatedly fails to obey reasonable school rules and teachers' instructions.

Children who are sexually exploited

Anyone can file a CRA for a sexually exploited child. This includes parents, police officers and exploited children themselves.

See the application form to ask for help for a child who has been sexually exploited.

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